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[casi] Kyodo News: Iraqi doctors blame cancer rise on depleted uranium shells

Iraqi doctors blame cancer rise on depleted uranium shells

Sunday, August 17, 2003

TOKYO X An increasing number of Iraqis are suffering from
cancer and leukemia allegedly caused by depleted uranium
shells the United States military used in the area, two
visiting doctors from Iraq said in presentations in Japan
over the past two weeks.

Around 116 out of 100,000 people were diagnosed in 2001 with
cancer in the vicinity of Basra in southern Iraq, where the
U.S. military used depleted uranium shells in the Persian
Gulf War in 1991, according to one of the doctors. The
number marks a 10-fold increase from the 11 cases diagnosed
in 1988, he said.

Jawad Al Ali, 59, a doctor from Basra, said an increasing
number of families have members who are suffering from
cancer, and the death toll from cancer has risen 19-fold
during the same period.

Several Japanese civic groups jointly invited Ali and Janan
Ghalib Hassan to Japan as part of their activities to make
known the harmful effects of depleted uranium shells. The
two delivered presentations in cities including Hiroshima
and Nagasaki, which were devastated by atomic bombs the U.S.
dropped in 1945 in World War II.

Hassan, 47, said that in 2001, 611 babies were born with no
limbs, no eyes or other birth defects, compared with 37 such
cases in 1990.

Ali expressed concern that a high number of cancer patients
will emerge in Baghdad and other parts of the country due to
the recent U.S.-led war on Iraq.

Depleted uranium, a metal remainder left when natural
uranium is refined, is used in artillery shells and bombs
designed to penetrate tanks and other armored vehicles. The
metal is believed to turn into small particles when a shell
hits its target, and can be toxic in humans if breathed or

The U.S. has been denying, including via embassy Web sites,
such adverse effects, asserting there is no basis to claims
that depleted uranium causes cancer in newborns.

But Yuko Fujita, an assistant professor at Keio University
who examined the effects of radioactivity in Iraq from May
to June, said that damage from depleted uranium will be more
serious in the future due to the recent war.

"I doubt that Iraq is fabricating data because in fact there
are many children suffering from leukemia in hospitals,"
Fujita said. "As a result of the Iraq war, the situation
will be desperate in some five to 10 years."

Regarding efforts by Japan in helping to rebuild Iraq, he
said, "Japan should build up-to-date hospitals for children
with cancer instead of sending Self-Defense Forces
personnel." (Kyodo News)

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